• Managing a Chaotic Pipeline as a Cloud Service Provider

Written by Tobias M. Pasma


Managing a Chaotic Pipeline as a Cloud Service Provider


  • Last updated: 29 April 2020

The Coronavirus crisis has impacted just about everyone, and Cloud Service Providers are no exception.

In many ways, they’re the lucky ones. The massive uptick in remote work and enforced social isolation have created an enormous demand for cloud services like collaboration tools.

The Microsoft Teams app, for example, now has 44 million daily users, up from 20 million in November. Other IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS services are experiencing similar jumps in usage.

On a broader scale, the pandemic has sparked a global drive towards digital transformation. Companies of all sizes are scrambling to adopt new technologies and tools to thrive in this new remote world.

All this has left Cloud Service Providers extremely busy, with sales teams struggling to handle packed-out pipelines and skyrocketing demand.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the challenges facing Cloud Service Providers and their sales teams, and how to manage these chaotic pipelines.

 

Managing a Chaotic Pipeline

As demand for cloud services spikes, sales teams are finding themselves pinned under a mountain of work.

If you’re a Cloud Service Provider, this is an opportunity to make more sales than ever before and drive the company forwards. However, this will be impossible unless you can adapt to the new volume and handle it effectively.

Here’s how you can do that.

 

Focus on the best leads that are most likely to convert. 

It’s time to get good at prioritizing. To handle high levels of demand, you need to decide which leads are most likely to become buyers and focus your efforts on them.

The best leads:

  • Have a real need for your services;
  • Can afford you;
  • Have interacted with you before;
  • Have a clear goal you can help them reach.

Be quick to eliminate dead leads. This is where your sales team will need to be a little ruthless. Leads that aren’t likely to become buyers will have to go. If you don’t remove these from the process, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.

Here’s how to identify a lousy lead:

  • They don’t need your services;
  • They’re not engaging with your content (such as emails);
  • They don’t have the budget to afford you;
  • They don’t have the power to make a buying decision;
  • They’re a bad match for you (in terms of company size, structure, or what they do).

As you can see, many of these are just the reverse of what to look for in a good lead. Thriving with a busy pipeline is all about making smart decisions and prioritizing.

HubSpot Tooltip: Use these identifiers to set up your lead scoring rules. Make sure to include both positive and negative scoring. Do you have a HubSpot Enterprise portal? Consider using the Predictive Lead Scoring functionality. 

 

Analyze Everything

It’s crucial to monitor your pipeline closely and keep track of various metrics. This will allow you to make data-driven decisions and tweak things to ensure optimal performance.

Here are some pipeline metrics to track:

  • Number of deals
  • Average deal size
  • Pipeline value (the combined value of every qualified lead)
  • Close-ratio (the percentage of overall sales you win)
  • Sales velocity (how long leads stay in your pipeline before a sale, on average)

By keeping close track of your pipeline’s performance, you’ll be able to prioritize more efficiently and drop leads that don’t look promising.

 

HubSpot Sales Revenue Report Dashboard
View the forecasted value of your pipeline

Simplify as Much as Possible

There’s no need to overcomplicate your sales process. While you should be treating your customers as individuals, the process itself doesn’t have to be made up from scratch every time. Taking this approach can be a massive waste of time.

Use templates and automation to duplicate your sales processes wherever possible. If something is working, make it a standard procedure and have your sales teams repeat the same successful processes.

HubSpot Tooltip: CRMs and automation tools like HubSpot can also be powerful weapons in the fight to make sales as effective and streamlined as possible. One example of this is email templates to make following up with leads more efficient. But also consider using task or call queuessales sequences, and snippets.

Sales Sequences in HubSpot
Using Sales Sequences in HubSpot

Minimize and Postpone Non-Urgent Tasks

Administrative work and other non-urgent jobs are important, but do they need to happen right now? When times are busy, and your pipeline is packed full of potential business, it may be wise to put some less pressing tasks on the backburner.

Your team will still need to do this work, of course, but it can be postponed to a less busy time or for non-revenue generating hours.

HubSpot Tooltip: Minimize the amount of administrative work by using the HubSpot Insights Database for auto-adding data to the company's profiles in HubSpot. Use administrative workflows to keep the data in sync with the properties on Deals & Contacts.

Sales Automation in HubSpot
Sales Automation Workflow in HubSpot

Focus on the Channels That Work

Again, this is all about prioritizing and increasing efficiency. Analyze your channels to find out what’s working well in terms of lead generation and what’s not.

Then, focus your attention on the successful channels and build your processes around them.

It’s worth keeping in mind that this will change over time. Your best-performing channel today might not be doing so well in a few years, and channels that don’t work well today might be your best ones later. That’s why it’s so important to monitor and be ready to change direction continually.

By prioritizing channels that are working well and building your sales process around them, you’ll speed up sales cycles and be better placed to handle a chaotic pipeline.

HubSpot Report by Source
Report on lifecycle stages by the source of the contact

A Time of Opportunity

The COVID-19 crisis has led to some considerable changes in the way we do business. It’s a challenging time for everyone, and for many Cloud Service Providers, the surge in demand has led to stress and feeling overwhelmed.

However, this could also be a great opportunity. It’s a chance for Cloud Service Providers to impress a new generation of customers and drive forward a new era of digital transformation that will help build a better post-pandemic world.

To find out how Mavericks can help you optimize your sales process and turn a chaotic pipeline into an opportunity, book a free consult.